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tv   CNN Tonight  CNN  September 3, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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that's all the time we have for this edition of "ac 360." more online at if not up there now, it will be up there shortly. "cnn tonight" starts now. good evening, everyone. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. >> and i'm alisyn camerota. great to be with you, don. tonight president obama's message to isis. >> we will not forget, and that our reach is long, and that justice will be served. >> is the president being tough enough on isis, or has he lost his foreign policy mojo? we're going to debate that. >> plus, the atrocities of isis
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contribute to the misguided fears of islam, just as the sotloff family challenges the head of isis. and inside the mind of an executioner. is isis an organization that attracts psychotic killers, or do they become that once inside? we're going to get into all of that this evening. we have a lot to get to ahead tonight. >> we sure do. let's begin with the obama administration's message to isis today. cnn's security correspondent jim sciutto joins us live. so jim, the president, the vice president, and the defense secretary all spoke out today about isis. but they weren't necessarily all on the same page. what did they say? >> no, they were not there. was something of a conflicting message. you did hear stronger words than you heard in the past from president obama, our reach is long, justice will be served. vice president biden taking a rhetorical step further by talking about chasing isis to the gates of hell. but the president added some confusion by after making his comments about destroying isis saying that, well, the intention
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may be to make isis a manageable threat. so that is a topic that i pressed defense secretary chuck hagel on immediately. it is contained or it is destroyed? what is the mission he has been tasked with. and secretary hagel said that what the president has come to him with in terms of defining that mission is destroy isis, not contain it. and those are the options that the pentagon has been presenting the president. >> let's listen to a portion of what the defense secretary said. >> can you vow to the american people today that isis will not be just degraded or contained but destroyed? >> well, vows are something beyond my mortal capacity. of doing. but i can tell you, this jim. i know this about this president, this vice president. i know this about everyone in his administration. i know this about myself. we will do everything possible that we can do to destroy their
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capacity to inflict harm on our people and western values and our interests. >> you know, another open question from the administration has been is isis an immediate threat to the u.s. or is it a potential threat down the line. frankly, we've heard conflicting messages. i've had intelligence officials tell me that there is a threat to the u.s. homeland. white house officials had seemed to back off from that. but today the defense secretary said in his view, definitively, that isil is today a threat to the u.s. homeland. and that's one reason why you heard that commitment in his voice in that clip you played just there, that he and the president and other white house officials are going to do their best they can to protect the u.s. from isis. >> jim, we've heard from some of our terrorism experts that one ploy of isis and other terrorist groups like them is to release videos on sort of a set schedule, gruesome videos like the beheadings that we've seen.
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one about every ten days. the administration afraid of that? >> no question. when you speak to u.s. officials, they speak about a couple of things. one, isis behaves like an army. it takes territory like an army. it defends territory like an army. it also has this very slick propaganda machine. these groups, their m.o. is to terrorize and they do it very well. of course this is a concern, alisyn, because administration officials while not being specific, they will say that isis holds other americans and they're of course concerned about their fate. one reason they won't be specific is they believe any comment they make about other americans held might put them into further danger. but that is certainly a fear, a great fear going forward. >> yes, of course. understandable. jim sciutto, thanks for the update. and today the family of murdered journalist steven sotloff made an emotional statement of solidarity with the family of james foley who was killed by isis last month. here it is.
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>> today we grieve. this week we mourn. but we will emerge from this ordeal. our bridge is strong. we will not allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the sole weapons they process, fear. our prayers go out to the family of jim foley. like steve, he suffered. but his jailers never broke him. he was an inspiration for others in that dark prison far from this country's freedoms. >> now exclusively steven sotloff's best friend justin cohen. thank you, justin, for joining us. how are you doing? >> i'm holding up. thank you for having me. >> thanks for coming on. you aren't just steven's best friend, your families are best friends. you celebrate holidays together. how is the family tonight? >> you know, we're grieving. we're trying to be very supportive, be there for each other. obviously, we're still in a state of shock, and completely devastated by the whole situation. >> can you talk a little bit
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about steven's work in the middle east? tell us about that if you can. >> you know, steven, he -- he is very passionate what was going on in the middle east. you know, he was this for the people. it was never a political issue for him. he wanted to make sure that he could get his point across, that everybody would know what is going on over there. he didn't mean any harm for any of the work or any of the articles that he has written. and, you know, he just really was there to be very supportive of, you know, trying to make a statement on what was happening. >> obviously, it was his passion to go into these very dangerous place. no doubt they were very dangerous. did he ever express concern about his work or the places which he was traveling? >> absolutely. he knew that it was extremely dangerous, and there was some consequences that would happen, but he felt like this was his
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passion, this was something that he felt like he needed to do. he needed to deliver a message. and he knew exactly what was going to go on. and he did a great job being able to inform all of us on what was happening. >> so the last time he travelled to syria, was there any concern from you? was there any concern from the family and from him? >> absolutely. it's understandable that we all knew how dangerous it is getting overseas, and, you know, we obviously expressed that to steven. but, you know, he -- this wasn't really anything we could do to get in the way of something he wanted to accomplish. and this is something he felt like he had to be there. he always put other people in front of him. he never thought about himself. so this was a trip that he had to make. >> just within the last couple weeks, a family has gone public, especially the mother. and i can't imagine what it's like for them to be going through something this horrific.
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but to have to keep it secret. they kept it secret for so long. why? >> we wanted to keep steven's safety as our number one priority. there was -- we felt like keeping a low profile was the best way to handle the situation. and as a difficult as it may have been for over a year now to keep things -- keep as a low profile and not go public with it has been extremely difficult. but we thought about steven first, and we felt like that was the best game plan going forward to hopefully, you know, bring him home. >> how much did you know about where he was being held captive, the conditions, the details about where he is being held? >> not too much. in the beginning just we were trying to put the pieces together to find out where steven was, you know.
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it took a few months for us to really search out to find out where he is being held. over time, we did receive letters and messages from steven, with what has been happening to him over a certain period of time. but that was really about it. there was really no other form of communication on our part. it is only stuff that we received. >> i would imagine it's very tough for you to even watch television right now and to watch those really barbaric videos. can you even get through those? how are you dealing with that? >> you know, it's a good question. i think we're all still in a state of shock, you know. this has been something that we've been dealing with for over a year now. but until this actually became a reality, there is no words to really express how any of us feel. the best that we can do right now is just be very supportive and loving to each other and try
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to be there with the immediate family and friends. and hopefully, we'll be able to get through this. >> did you realize at some point that he may not be coming home, either from communications or just because you had a feeling? >> you know, we always tried to stay positive and upbeat. for a while we were getting extremely concerned because we did hear about other people that were being released. and he was still there. and we felt like we worked endless hours to do everything in our power to try to bring him home. there was cause for concern as time went on, especially over the past couple of months. >> i wonder if the family or you have been -- does it provide you any comfort in the action that you're getting to his death? there is an outpouring of love and support. and really, everyone around the
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world is horrified by this. >> absolutely. we can't thank everyone enough for all their support and love and comfort that they've shown not only the sotloff family, but to their family and friends. this is who steven is. anyone that has met him says that he is a great guy, always thought about others. and just kind of shows you the outpour of support and love that people are showing the sotloff family. it's unbelievable. and we couldn't imagine this. we're very thankful. >> and justin, just to continue on with a little bit with that, you know, his passion was telling other people's stories. so how would you like for him to be remembered? >> i want him to be remembered as a guy filled with courage, honor, and under that loyalty.
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me personally, it's brotherhood. he has always put other people ahead of himself. and that is something that i want him to be remembered as, as somebody who really fought for what he believed in, followed his passion, and did everything in his power to do the right thing. and we feel like he has. >> justin cohen, best friends of steven sotloff, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> everyone to a person talks about what a great guy he was, everyone. >> it's always tough to do those interviews, you know. what do you ask? but i'm always amazed at the courage of people when they have lost someone so close to come on and to really pay tribute to them. that's what he is doing. the last thing he said, he wants people to remember his friend as a good guy and someone who is fearless. >> absolutely. and someone who wanted to tell other people's stories. that's what he was doing over there. he was trying to do right by the muslim people, and that is the fate he met at the hands of
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isis. so we need to remember all that isis rampages across the middle east while of course ukraine battles pro-putin rebels. and the world waits to see what president obama will do about these. but has he lost his foreign policy mojo? also, killing in the name of allah. how violent extremism is trying to corrupt a religion that is followed by more than a billion people worldwide. and inside the mind of isis, a top psychologist weighs in on what turns a young person into a vicious terrorist. so factors like diet can negatively impact good bacteria? even if you're healthy and active. phillips digestive health support is a duo-probiotic that helps supplement good bacteria found in two parts of your digestive tract. i'm doubly impressed! phillips' digestive health. a daily probiotic.
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president obama's facing many foreign policy crises simultaneously, including the growing threat from isis and the growing threat in ukraine as government forces and pro-russian forces battle. so does the president have a coherent strategy? we're joined by general wesley clark, former nato supreme allied commander. juliette kayyem, and the national security editor at the blaze, who is an ex-cia agent and ex-nypd intelligence division specialist. you're all under achievers from that intro. great to have you with us. let's start with what the president said today. some considered it a muddled message. president obama first said that the goal with isis was to degrade and destroy them. and then a short time later, he
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seemed to modify that. here is how he explained dealing with isis. >> continue to shrink isil's sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing. its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem. >> buck, let me start with you. a manageable problem is different than destroying something. >> well, the president didn't misspeak here. what he said is actually reflective of where he stands on this issue there is a difference between degrading and destroying a terrorist group like isis, and that difference would manifest itself in the actions he would have to take as commander in chief. of course, timing matters in all this. the president has lost a couple of months. it was very clear at the invasion of iraq and the taking of mosul by isis that something should have been done much more robustly than what the president decided at this time. but now he has to look at well, is this going to be limited to the iraqi theater or we pushing
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them back into syria, or are we going to expand into the syrian operations as well? those are decisions that i don't think the administration has made yet. the more they expand this war, the harder it is for obama to stick to the line that he wants to that he is not back in iraq. he is, and he should accept that. >> juliette, the president went on to try to clarify what he is saying. basically paraphrasing, he was suggesting you can never get rid of all terrorists. you can only sort of make it more manageable. is that a good enough message? >> it absolutely is, and it is one that anyone who looks at the history of the united states or world politics knows to be true. how do you get rid of a terrorist organization? you try to disperse them you. degrade them. you attack them you. come up with political solutions. there are a number of tools we can use. so just getting to buck's point about timing, there is a lot of talk about whether there is a clear message coming out of the administration. so let's just make this clear to viewers.
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everyone agrees isis is a threat. everyone agrees that the military strikes in iraq are working. everyone knows that the long-term solution to this problem is going to require a political solution with regional partners. so the only disagreement is one on tactics, which is whether we start bombing in syria, which is a game-changer, or we put troops on the ground. so it seems to me that there is no confusion about whether there is a strategy. we just have disagreements about what the right strategy should be. these are serious military efforts. if the white house wants to take a few weeks to make sure that we know what the consequences are, unlike what we've done in the past starting wars without enough intelligence, it seems like that's probably a smart way to go right now. >> okay, general clark, do you agree that this is all the same coherent strategy? we're just taking our time to figure out when we're going to do the next move? >> well, i think the president has been very clear that he wants a strategy that involves people on the ground from the region. and i think that's the appropriate strategy.
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and the people on the ground in the region are working to put something together. last week the saudi and qatari foreign ministers met. their intelligence chiefs met. the saudis helped create this problem. they're really the biggest target of isis because of the appeal of the extremist wahhabi and islamist sharia law interpretations. so the saudis have to do something. and i think that the president is putting the pressure on them behind the scenes. and he is waiting to see them step forward with forces to do something. because there is so much that can be done by air power and special forces, but you can't finish this fight. you can't do what the president said he wants to do without having some ground forces who can separate friend from foe, call in the strikes, go into the villages, and do the things that have to be done to have to really root out isis influence. >> buck, you know, people who listen to the president's message today thought that he seemed methodical, cool, some
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would say detached the way he can at times. but vice president joe biden had a much different tone when he spoke about isis. let's listen to what he said. >> when people harm americans, we don't retreat. we don't forget. we take care of those who are grieving, and when that is finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. >> buck, what did you think of the vice president's message? >> i felt like he was trying to channel leonidas a bit from the movie "300." in terms of the tone, a little fire in the belly is necessary here. i actually think the vice president in this case had a more appropriate tone than what we saw from the president. i appreciated that he got that fire up. and i would also say that on the notion that the president having a coherent strategy, he himself said as recently as last week that they didn't have a strategy for dealing with iraq. so i feel like that's a moot point. he also obviously underestimated the threat. we know it wasn't j.b.
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now he has some idea of the way forward, that's flatly untrue, because he is dithering and waiting for events on the ground to take root. isis is actually getting stronger. isis is funding itself. isis is selling oil quantities on the black market. they're bringing fighters from all over the world with every day that passes, and a third of iraq and a large swath of syria is under this terrorist state. it's not even a state sponsor of terror. things get worse. and it will be harder to dislodge them. so the idea that we can have meetings and discuss this and eventually a grand coalition will form and a politician solution is nice, but not enough. >> go ahead, juliette. >> everything buck says is descriptive. and no one is denying it. this is a serious threat to the region. it's a serious threat to europe. so the question of what the strategy is has to be -- it has to be backed up by details. so it is that we start bombing
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in syria? what will that mean? what will the consequences mean? or we or our allies or our regional partners have troops on the ground. both of those are serious questions of which no one on this panel has said specifically what the consequences will be. so the more, more, more drumbeat has to be backed up by facts about what the consequences are. descriptively, no one is going to disagree that this is a threat to the region. >> yeah. juliette kayyem, buck sexton, general clark, thank you so much for the discussion today. great to talk to all of you. >> thank you. >> when we continue, we'll talk about isis and other muslim fundamentalist groups that commit violence in the name of religion. they claim to represent the true teachings of islam, but other muslims say they have twisted the teachings of the koran. we're going take a look at that. that's next. well, did you know the great wall of china wasn't always so great? hmmm...what should we do?
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the world has witnessed the beautitality of muslim extremist groups from isis in the middle east to boko haram in parts of africa. it's prompting people to ask the question, how is it that terrorists commit such bloody acts of violence using the islamic faith as a shield. here is cnn's jean casarez.
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>> our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> reporter: in the name of allah, the terrorist group isis sends a message for the world to hear. that they represent the true principles of islam, seen here in a vice news video. but how can this group now more notorious than al qaeda claim to speak for all muslims? muslim leaders say they can't. >> islam is a peaceful religion. the very meaning of islam means submission to the will of god to attend peace. >> reporter: experts say the terrorism of isis is based only on their twisted interpretation of the religious religion, and the religion itself is not more dangerous than others. >> no muslim in his or her right
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mind will ever justify or agree with the killing of innocent people because there are clear commands in the koran that prevents acts of aggression against innocent people. >> reporter: according to the pew institute, there are 1.6 billion muslims worldwide. and in 2010, almost 3.5 million in north america. they are generally younger than the world's overall population, and their numbers are growing. >> young people who do not feel maybe sometimes included or they believe in justice, they see injustice around the world in a vacuum of leadership. isis and the likes of isis and boko haram jump to exploit these young people who are lured to believe that they are fighting for a just cause. >> reporter: start's database tracks local terrorism. they found the majority of terrorist attacks in 2013
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occurred in three countries -- iraq, pakistan, and afghanistan. majority muslim nations where the victims are often muslim too. the taliban, isis, and boko haram are ranked as the three bloodiest groups. al qaeda became a household name in september 2001 by perpetrating violence they say is rooted in their faith. september 2013, the somali terror group al shabaab, an affiliate of al qaeda takes center stage with the kenyan mall massacre. and earlier this year, boko haram created global outrage with the kidnapping of more than 200 school girls in western africa. one of the questions that people just can't wrap their head around is that something that is based in religion in the name of god does such violent things. >> islam is being leveraged and utilized by these organizations in order to gain the end state
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that they want. and that end state is described in islamic terms. it's derived from medieval islamic ideology. most of the rest of the muslim world has moved well beyond that. so we should not vilify the muslim world. the muslim world is the best chance of defeating global jihadist groups like al qaeda or the islamic state. >> reporter: violence in the name of god or just plain terror? when it comes to isis and the rest of the world, increasingly, that seems to be a distinct without a difference. jean casarez, cnn, new york. >> a distinction without a difference is a good way of putting it. joining us now is arsalan iftekhar, the found over the muslim and the senior fellow at the potomac institute for policy studies and the author of "inside jihad." also with us tonight is tom
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puentes, former fbi assistant director. so let's talk about this, and let's be very honest about it. this is a discussion that is happening really across the world. i want to ask you, starting with arsalan, let's begin with the simple question, as some are asking. is islam a more violent religion than other faiths? >> absolutely not, don. in the history of humanity, every single religion on earth has been used by fringe extremists for violent purposes. and to isolate islam, you know, outside of the history of 1400 years and over one billion people who practice it is being disingenuous and dishonest. yes, there is a problem with islamist extremists and terrorists like al qaeda, and isis and boko haram buchlt to equate -- >> but those are very violent groups. ask dr. hameed, is islam more violent than any other faith?
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>> i believe there are certain areas in islam that needs to be reinterpreted, otherwise you will face violence again. other religions have probably some texts that may lead to violence if you understood it literally. however, many of these religions have reformed it already. islam has not reformed it yet. and the same ways of teaching are still today valid circumstances that a yes or a no? is it more violent? >> i believe with a literal understanding of it, and with its history as written in sharia books today, it is more violent. >> tom fuentes? >> yes, it must be, otherwise how could all these groups take the name of islam to become violent and do what they do? they're the ones that call themselves islamists. they're the ones that, you know, isis calling themselves the islamic state. we didn't pin that name on them. we didn't say you're the
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non-christian, the nonbuddhist, the nonhindu, the nonsikh. they said we're the islamist states. they're interpreting the teachings of the prophet, the teachings of the koran, and they're twisting it. they're putting it on it. but the fundamental basis is that they're calling themselves islam and cutting people's heads off. >> go ahead, mr. iftekhar. >> first of all, i find it absolutely astounding that a former assistant director of the fbi would say that islam a more violent religion than most other religions. if you look at the lord's resistance army and joseph coney that was made famous in the coney 2012 campaign, that is a christianist organization. you look at christian extremist organizations here in the united states that have bombed gay nightclubs and abortion clinics in the name of christiandom. but every cristianos -- >> but by saying that islam is more violent than any other
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religion, it doesn't mean that other religions aren't violent. we're talking about history and the reality here. if you're look at the bombing of abortion clinics, you're not looking at the numbers of the 9/11. you're not looking at the numbers of a boko haram. you're not look agent the many people who are killed from isis and beheaded. people go into abortion clinics, yes, death is death. but people don't go into abortion clinics and behead people. >> what he is saying is true, don. >> go ahead, tom. >> what he is saying is perfectly true there was this level of violence in the other religions. the ancient israelites did similar things in towns and killed everybody, man, women and children in the town thousands of years ago. the catholics, there were catholic priests that accompanied the con keyes dorns sh on the ships and they committed the spanish inquisition. that's what i'm trying to say. major religions have had that period of time where they were as violent and frankly as horrible could be to try to convert people to their teachings.
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and if they didn't get converted by hearts and flowers, they were killed or convinced by persuasion and violence to do it. so what i'm trying to say is that, yes, in the modern era here in now, those are the other religions have moved on, past that being their normal method of operating to convert people to believe their belief. these people like isis al baghdadi is basically saying, moderate sunnis, any yazidi, any christian, anybody, i'm going to kill all of you. you need to convert. >> you're going to take what one knucklehead says out of 1.6 billion of us. if you look at the oklahoma city bombing, timothy mcveigh's co-conspirator was a self-professed member of the christian -- which has over 200,000 followers here in the united states. it is absolutely astonishing that people are going to be so reductionive and take isolated fringe extremists and
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extrapolate that to a religion of over 1 billion people. this goes into whole narrative. >> what you're saying is these groups are so isolated -- >> listen, tom. >> on every continent. >> listen. president george w. bush after 9/11 said that the united states is not at civilization's mantra where it's the best against islam. for the 7 million american muslims who live in the united states today, myself included, you know, you tend to forget that three out of ten nobel peace prize winners were muslims that the greatest athlete in america, muhammed ali, the funniest dude in america, dave chappelle are muslims. muslims are as peace loving -- >> hang on, guys. we got to get to a break. >> that's not what i'm saying. >> i want you to hold that thought. i think that you are talking over each other, not necessarily listening to each other. and we're getting a little far afield here. we're going to continue this conversation, right? >> it's a very delicate
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conversation and dicey. it's important so we're going to do it. more on the other side of the break. do muslims need to do more to combat extremism within their own faith, or do we just need to report on those efforts more? we'll examine all of that next. ♪ man: [ laughs ] those look like baby steps now. but they were some pretty good moves. and the best move of all? having the right partner at my side. it's so much better that way. [ male announcer ] have the right partner at your side. consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. go long. insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. anncr: now you can merge the physical freedom of the car, with the virtual freedom of wi-fi. chevrolet, the first
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the isis executions of american journalists steven sotloff and james foley shocked the world. and today sotloff's family made a statement directly to the terrorists who corrupt the name of islam. we are back with arsalan iftekhar, dr. hamid, and tom fuentes. gentlemen, let me read to you what the spokesman for the sotloff family said today. he read it in arabic. but let me read to you the translation that he wanted to telegraph this message to the leader of isis. he said i have a message to the islamic nation. that's what he started with. sotloff loved the arab and the islamic world and all he wanted was to send their message to the world. i have a message for abu back car al baghdadi.
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the month of ramadan is the month of mercy. he says an arabic word which corresponds to in this context you have committed a great sin or mistake. you talk about islam and the noble koran, but a know a verse from the koran. fight in the cause of god. those who fight you and do not transgress, god loves not the transgressers. i'm here debating you with kindness. i don't have a sword in my hand, and i'm ready for your answer. dr. hamid? >> yeah. >> what is your response to the statement that he read today? >> it's very honest statement, very meaningful. and it carries a very powerful message which is there are verses of the koran that are extremely peaceful and promotes peace. but the real problem is that the verses that were used during wartime in the text of contextualizing his versions to the early version of islam, the
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current teaching and interpretations still uses these verses as they are. and they promote violent principles like the clearing on nonislams and offering them pay or to kill them. when you have such teaching that is permeating almost all islamic interpretations for the koran, then a young muslim will have no option if he become more religious but to follow these principles, especially when you see many of the teachings giving more promotion and more emphasis on the violent teachings. i think islam can be saved when the emphasis is put on the peaceful verses. and there are many peaceful muslims who follow. this but we cannot deny the existence of interpretations that are the -- the dominant ones, the ministry ones. and i challenge the leading islamic scholars to come us to tomorrow and say to us that the principle of isis and muslims
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must defy it. and offer them islam or humiliating text or to be killed that is a wrong concept or unacceptable concept. i challenge these scholars to come us to. and instead of asking the whole world to call islam the religion of peace, to say it clearly and unambiguously, this principle of islam, is wrong and unacceptable or obsolete concept. i wish they do this. then we can start talking about the -- >> okay. how do you respond to that? clearly, he is saying that maybe there is an optics problem, or maybe that many muslims around the world are aware of how they are perceived, and that they're perceived more violently, whether it's real or not, that is a perception. >> to mr. iftekhar. >> oh, you didn't say my name. doesn't have to wait. if you look at statements that have been made, the grand mufti
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condemned -- >> i want to condemn the principle. >> can i -- may i finish my statement. the organization of the islamic conference which is the biggest umbrella group of the 57 muslim majority nations on the face of the earth have condemned isis. i actually knew steven sotloff. steven and i became facebook friends about four or five years ago while he was still in libya, and we corresponded. so this latest isis execution hit close to home. and it's something that, you know, as a muslim public intellectual, having to discuss these issues and, you know, muslim leaders and scholars from around the world, every muslim organization in america has condemned isis in public statements. you know, we stand on street corners with bullhorns for the rest of our lives and we condemn terrorism. but for some people it's never enough. they're going to only focus on the minuscule extremist minority and conflate that to represent all 1.6 billion muslims. >> but one evil outweighs one
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good by many, many exponentially. and that is the issue that people are -- that most people realize, and many people in the muslim faith aren't realizing that reality. >> well, gentlemen, we thank you all for being here. it's important to start the conversation. obviously, it gets heated, but we appreciate all of your perspectives and you coming in to try to begin this important conversation. thank you. and coming up, inside the mind of isis. what drives terrorists who commit such brutal crimes? a top psychologist weighs in, and that's next. when folks think about what they get from alaska,
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isis executioners are committing the most brutal crimes imaginable, but what kind of psychology allows this level of barbarism? joining us to try to get inside the mind of the world's most feared terrorists is a psychologist from the relief institute. great to see you, javier. thank you for being here. you have spent time studying the world's worst terrorists. what is the psychology -- is there something different about their psychological makeup than normal people? >> let me be fair to the brixton
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mosque in london. the imam there was not part of the extreme -- it's a good contrast, by the way, the extremist islamic movement. in fact, abu baqir who i spent at love of time with described richard reed. it was the finnsbury park mosque which would set up across the street and shout we are the true believers, the true islam, we in fact have the real message, zacarias moussaoui and others like him sometimes disenfranchised homeless were shown great kindness in the brixton mosque. when i walked through the doors and took my shoes off and i was greeted by a 10-year-old boy, i have to tell you, i felt the warmth, the family, the community that is mainstream islam. >> and is isis in the same category, or have they ratcheted it up to such a different level there is some psychosis of people who join isis in a what they is different than --
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>> absolutely different. i'm i guess i'm drawing the contrast because where both richard reid and zacarias moussaoui entered islam is through a mosque and through an islamic scholar that was not preaching violent jihad. >> did you hear the conversation we had before? >> i did, yes. >> what did you think of it? >> look, i think the fact is i've read the koran three times now because of various cases i've worked on. i've worked on a number of cases down at gitmo, the 9/11 co-conspirator cases. i've had to learn what it is i'm hearing. and there is a great deal of violence that is in fact attributed to the prophet. and to his teachings. but it is in a particular context. i agree with that. and it's taken out of context by people like the leaders of isis. >> it's taken out of context, but it's still part of islam. even though it's taken out of context. >> it's part of the holy text of islam, yes. >> who are carrying that out, right? >> you can't deny it. it's black and white. >> but is it meant to be taken
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literally? when it says to crucify people and to take a knife to their necks, is that meant to be taken literally? >> clearly, when i have spoken with and met with and certainly what i have read and what i know of mainstream islam, of course not. we know that's not the case. it's just a simple fact. >> right. >> the islamic faith is not a violent faith. these are extremists, like in the previous discussion christian bombing an abortion clinic. that's an extremist, taking christian faith and certain christian beliefs to an extreme. in every religion, yes. >> by the same token, when you say let he who has sinned cast the first stone. it doesn't literally mean you have supposed to cast the first stone. my question, is there an optics problem? do muslims around the world understand that when you see the pictures of isis on television, when you see boko haram, when you see the pictures of 9/11, that there is an image problem,
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and people, many people, the average person thinks that maybe the islamic faith is more violent. >> absolutely. in this country that was my experience after 9/11. that was my experience, the hate mail i received working on the zacarias moussaoui case. the first defendant related to the 9/11 attacks was incredible. >> is that warranted, though? >>. no. >> dr. ambassador, thank you so much for being here. great to talk to you. we'll be right back. ñzóó
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welcome back, everyone. what is in a name? it could be the difference between getting a job and getting passed over. man named jose zamora says he sent out between 50 and 100 resumes a day, and he had no luck. so he decided to get a little bit creative. he dropped one letter from his name, and jose became joe. the job offers began rolling in. we'll have a lot more on the story in the next hour on cnn, so make sure you stay with us. welcome back, everyone. it is 11:00 p.m. on the east coast. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. >> and i'm alisyn camerota. great to be with you tonight. imagine being behind bars for 30 years and being on death row, all for a crime you did not commit. now imagine giving up your youth, losing the chance to have a normal life and family? >> and then imagine